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U.S. Men Get Aggressive Against Italy

By BJ Evans | Sept. 07, 2014, 8:50 p.m. (ET)

KRAKOW, Poland (Sept. 7, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team brushed away the bitter taste of defeat with sweet victory on Sunday as it defeated Italy, 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17 in the final Pool D match before a crowd of approximately 14,100 at Krakow Arena at the 2014 FIVB World Championship.

Micah Christenson and Max Holt
  From left, Micah Christenson and Max Holt block against Italy.

The top four teams from each of the four World Championship pools will advance to the second round. With Sunday’s win, the U.S. Men (3-2; nine points) finished third out of the six teams in Pool D.

The U.S. Men will play the first two matches of the second round in Łódź, against Poland (5-0; first place Pool A) on Wednesday (Sept. 10) and Serbia (4-1; second place Pool A) on Thursday (Sept. 11). Team USA will then travel to Bydgoszcz for its next two matches against Australia (2-3; fourth in Pool A) on Saturday (Sept. 13) and Argentina (3-2; third in Pool A) on Sunday (Sept. 14). (U.S. World Championship matches will be shown LIVE on BeIN Sports TV and online. Check your local listings for more information.)

One day after a tough loss to France, the U.S. Men came out swinging on Sunday, starting out aggressive at the service line and at the net and not backing down.

“Yesterday, we played a good first set (against France) and then we let up in the second set and we were chasing them from there on out,” middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) said. “Tonight, except for a few lapses in energy, it seemed like we were the aggressive ones. They were chasing us.”

The U.S. Men cleaned up their serving in a big way from Saturday, finishing with six aces and 16 service errors on 97 attempts. Poland had one ace and 17 errors on 81 attempts. The U.S. was credited with 32 excellent receptions and one fault on 64 attempts while Italy had 31 excellent receptions and seven faults on 81 attempts.

The U.S. Men led in attacks with 48 kills and 11 errors on 104 attempts while Italy had 43 kills and 23 errors on 117 attempts.

Holt led all scorers with 19 points on a match-high 13 kills, a match-high five blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), a fan favorite who has played the last three years for the Polish pro team Asseco Resovia, added 13 points on 11 kills and two aces. Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) scored 13 points on 12 kills and one block.

Opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) scored 11 points on nine kills and two aces.

Italy suffered a blow in the second set when one of its leading players, Ivan Zaytsev, went down with an undisclosed injury.

“I’m sorry Zaytsev got hurt,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said. “We all want to play teams when they are at their best. After Zaytsev went down I felt like the emotion of the match changed on both sides.”

After the U.S. Men won the first set going away, the second-set score was tied 16-16 when Zaytsev went down and the U.S. immediately used a 3-1 scoring run to take the lead for good. Italy came back in the third set and reached set point at 24-21. It held off its own victory with two straight errors before getting the win on Emanuele Birarelli’s kill in the middle.

The fourth set was tied 10-10 when Lotman got the serve after Italy’s error and served for the next five points, including two aces. Italy never recovered.

U.S. Roster for the FIVB World Championship
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College) 
1. Matt Anderson (OH/Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California) 
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
19. Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawaii)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Nick Vogel (MB, 6-9, San Diego, Calif., UCLA)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Andrea Becker 
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall
Technical Coordinator: Anton Willert
Consultant Coaches: Tyler Hildebrand, Kathy DeBoer, Tim Pelot 
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock 
Doctors: David Dyck and Christopher Lee

2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship
Schedule and Results

First Round
Pool D (Top four advance)
France (4-1; 12 points)
Iran (4-1; 11 points)
USA (3-2; 9 points)
Italy (2-3; 5 points)
Belgium (1-4; 5 points)
Puerto Rico (1-4; 3 points)

2014 FIVB World Championship Schedule – Pool D
Kraków, Poland (all times ET)
View the entire World Championship schedule

Aug. 31
Iran def Italy, 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22
USA def Belgium, 25-21, 17-25, 25-16, 21-25
France def Puerto Rico, 25-23, 25-22, 26-24

Sept. 2
Iran def USA, 25-23, 25-19, 19-25, 18-25, 17-15
Belgium def Puerto Rico, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20
Italy def France, 20-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-12                     

Sept. 4
USA def Puerto Rico, 25-15, 25-8, 25-20
France def Iran, 25-18, 14-25, 25-19, 29-27
Italy def Belgium, 26-28, 25-15, 25-16, 28-26

Sept. 6
France def USA, 19-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21
Iran def Belgium, 25-23, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20
Puerto Rico def Italy, 19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22

Sept. 7
France def Belgium, 25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-12
Iran def Puerto Rico, 25-17, 25-22, 25-14
USA def Italy, 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17

Second Round (Top three advance)
Pool E

Łódź (All times ET)
Sept. 10
2:15 p.m. USA v Poland
Sept. 11
10:30 a.m. USA v Serbia

Bydgoszcz (All times ET)
Sept. 13
2:15 p.m. USA v Australia
Sept. 14
10:30 a.m. USA v Argentina

Third Round: Sept. 16-19 in Łódź or Katowice
Final Round: Sept. 20-21 in Łódź or Katowice

Related Athletes

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Matt Anderson

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Micah Christenson

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Carson Clark

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Max Holt

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David Lee

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Paul Lotman

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Garrett Muagututia

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Taylor Sander

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Erik Shoji

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Kawika Shoji

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David Smith